Glacier Stream

Rock balancing on ice over a glacial stream on the Black Rapids Glacier in the Alaska Range
Balancing boulder over a stream on the Black Rapids Glacier

This photo was taken in June on the Black Rapids Glacier in the Alaska Range. We were camping at 4000 ft elevation right at the snow line. Water from these streams typically drains via moulins in the summer months. However, it was early enough in the season that there wasn’t any englacial drainage yet. So, hiking on the surface meant we had to cross a lot of streams. So much jumping.

Larger rocks like this one insulate the ice beneath as the ice around the boulder melts. Luckily for us, this one was located in the path of a waterway, and the pedestal divided the stream. It provided a perfect spot so step across and keep our feet dry.

It was a knee-pounding couple of weeks, hiking up to 18 miles a day. In the last couple of days, some moulins started draining providing places to walk around the bigger streams. Despite my knees and legs aching for a few weeks after this trip, I look forward to returning to this beautiful area. Hopefully this summer. Stay tuned!

Water and ice on glaciers are some of my most passionate subjects to photograph. Below is a video I put together of moulins draining supraglacial streams on the Black Rapids Glacier.

CameraNikon NIKON D7000 (Current model NIKON D7500)
LensSigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM for Nikon (For Canon cameras)
Focal Length17.0 mm (25.0 mm in 35mm)
Aperturef/9
Exposure Time0.00313s (1/320)
ISO250

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